- Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Alan Norman and I make music as Thee Crumb.
- What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, my top priority is a track I'm working on for Webshadows, which is an offshoot of the Foreshadows project. In addition to that, I've always got a pile of tracks sitting about in various stages of completion that I try to get back to as often as I can. I'm fairly prolific so there's always something kicking about. Having said that, all I'm doing right now is drinking tea and listening to the new Guided By Voices album....
- Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
It would be very hard to name just one, I think. Virtually impossible in fact. I've listened to so much music that I really can't say now that there's one particular artist that made me want to do this myself. I find great new stuff to listen to all the time, as well.
- Name a place that has inspired you.
I travel about a bit for my day job, so I get to see quite a bit of southern England. I guess that inspires me a bit. Not so much the multi-storey car parks and motorways, although I've read enough J. G. Ballard to see their appeal. Just finding myself in different places all the time means I haven't got that much of a set routine so I experience new things constantly. I've also been lucky enough to travel abroad a bit, as well, and that certainly opens your mind.
- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Can I say the Internet? As without it I would've stopped making music years ago.
- What drives you to do what you do?
I seem to have a kind of compulsion to make music. Exactly why I'm not entirely sure. It's a desire for communication I suppose—or an attempt to make a mark on the world somehow.
- What values do you wish your creativity to express?That's tricky. I don't really think about values too much when I'm making music. I guess just the fact that I'm one person making music in his bedroom and can get it out into the world might be enough. There's an awful lot of very homogeneous music—and art in general—out there, and maybe I'd like to see myself in opposition to that. Though I'm aware that setting yourself up as some kind of “outsider” has its dangers, too. I do have a blog and a Bandcamp page, as well, but I don't tend to promote myself as much as maybe I should.
- What role does community play in what you do?
Virtually all of my musical community is to be found on the Internet. I live in quite a small place outside of Bournemouth, England, and there's not many people (as far as I can tell) who are interested in my sort of music. When I was younger, it was all cover-version bands and that was about it. Although I've got some family and friends who like what I do, there's an equal number who are totally baffled by it. Online, however, I've been lucky enough to get involved with some very good people. Being involved with both Digital Vomit and the VUA—not to mention the RPM Challenge—has made a massive difference in the last few years.
- What is next for what you do?
I just keep plugging on making music. There's a quote by the American poet William Stafford, who wrote a poem every day for virtually his whole adult life: "I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along." And that's it really. I'm just following my nose.